Result and reaction: Liverpool 2 Middlesbrough 0

Barclays Premiership – Result

Liverpool 2 Middlesbrough 0

Half-time: 0-0

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Mascherano, Sissoko (Kuyt, 51), Zenden, Gerrard (Gonzalez, 87), Crouch.
Unused subs: Dudek, Hyypia, Fowler.
Goals: Gerrard 58, 65 (pen)

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer,
Davies, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Taylor, Boateng, Morrison (Viduka, 66),
Cattermole (Johnson, 81), Rochemback, Downing, Yakubu.
Unused subs: Jones, Riggott, Lee.
Booking: Davies 59.

win over Middlesbrough last night means the club are one win away from
a top-four finish, and a place in the qualifiers for next season's
Champions League.

Fifth-placed Everton and sixth-placed Bolton
are both on 54 points, ten points behind the Reds. All the teams have
four games left meaning one win would put Liverpool out of their reach.

Steven Gerrard scored both goals, one from the penalty spot shortly after another Gerrard special.


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"I thought we deserved to win but we had to be patient and we had to
work hard, keep moving the ball around as they played deep and were
very organised. They came to play on the counter attack and get men
behind the ball and sometimes it can be difficult to create clear
chances when the opposition play so deep. We knew we needed to win to
help make sure of a top four place and if we can get into third it will
be perfect.

"We now want to beat Wigan on Saturday and hopefully
make sure of a top four finish. Then we can start thinking about the
Champions League semi-final.

"We know the qualities Steven
Gerrard has and he can change games with his shots from distance. He
did just that for the first goal and that was the key to victory. We
know Gerrard is happier when he is playing in the middle but he knows
that sometimes I have to play him on the right side for the good of the
team. In the middle, Steven Gerrard is always a player who is very
‘Boro boss Gareth Southgate: "There were a
lot of positives. We came here with a gameplan to keep it tight and
open it up towards the end but got caught napping to a wonderful strike
when we switched off for a moment. We needed an extra body around the
midfield area and James Morrison did that role very well for us, but we
switched off for a second and with teams the calibre of Liverpool and
players the quality of Steven Gerrard, if you do that they punish you.

"That gave us a mountain to climb and just as we were trying to get Dukes on we conceded what I feel is a soft penalty."

(On the penalty decision): "I'm not sure. If it's at the other end I'm not sure it's given.

have very often played 4-4-2 and tried to go for it and not got the
results. The team were disciplined in their defending. Yes, Liverpool
had a lot of possession but the chances were limited before the goal.

the way they've been playing with one striker and one in behind. We
were prepared for that and that's why we did what we did. It's
interesting that nobody questions it when they do that here. At times
at home for us if we don't play with two strikers we get ripped to

Attendance: 41,458

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Stats: (Liverpool – ‘Boro)
Possession: 60% – 40%
Shots on target: 7 – 2
Shots off target: 11 – 3
Corners: 8 – 2
Fouls: 8 – 13